ANKARA: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday accused a top US general of being on the side of Turkey’s coup plotters after commenting that the country’s turmoil could downgrade military cooperation with Washington.
“You are taking the side of coup plotters instead of thanking this state for defeating the coup attempt,” Erdogan said in angry remarks at a military centre in Golbasi outside Ankara, where air strikes left dozens dead during the failed putsch on July 15.
Quoted by US media, US Central Command chief General Joseph Votel had said the coup bid and subsequent round-up of dozens of generals could affect American military cooperation with Turkey.
In particular, Votel suggested the US had lost key Turkish military interlocutors who are now in jail and accused of being behind the coup.
“Know your place!” Erdogan told Votel, using one of his favourite expressions of anger.
“The coup plotter is already in your country, you are already feeding him,” he said, referring to the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen who Ankara accuses of being the mastermind of the coup.
Turkey is a key member of the US-led coalition fighting Islamic State (IS) jihadists in Syria, with its Incirlik air base used as a launch hub for raids on the group.